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Parsons’ title reign ends

basketball player dribbling the ball
Snead State’s 12-point second-half lead vanished against Coastal Alabama-North on Tuesday afternoon, taking with it the Parsons’ opportunity to defend their men’s ACCC Basketball Tournament championship.

BIRMINGHAM — Snead State's 12-point second-half lead vanished against Coastal Alabama-North on Tuesday afternoon, taking with it the Parsons' opportunity to defend their men's ACCC Basketball Tournament championship.

South Division No. 2 seed Coastal-North outscored North Division No. 3 seed Snead State 38-20 over the last 14 minutes, rallying for a 69-63 win in the ACCC quarterfinals in the Arthur Shores Fine Arts Building at Lawson State.

The Parsons beat Coastal-North in the finals last season to win their first ACCC Tournament crown since 1990.

The loss broke Snead State's five-game winning streak. The Parsons finished with a 25-7 record.

Coastal-North (18-11) advances to Thursday's semifinals against South No. 4 seed Chattahoochee Valley, which upset North No. 1 seed Wallace State-Hanceville 72-63 in Tuesday's quarterfinals.

"The only sophomore guard that we had stayed in foul trouble so we've got three freshmen out there on the big stage, and we just didn't handle it," SSCC head coach Jeremiah Patterson said.

"We ended up with 22 turnovers for the game, probably 16 or so in the second half. I thought that was the difference in the game."

Coastal-North outscored the Parsons 24-5 in points off turnovers.

The Parsons fell behind 19-14 in the opening half but responded by outscoring Coastal-North 19-8 in the last 4:47. They led 33-27 at intermission.

Coastal-North trimmed it to 34-31, but the Parsons answered with a 9-0 run to build a 43-31 advantage with 14:14 remaining in the game. Jason King scored six points in the run, including a fastbreak dunk.

Jace Johnson powered Coastal-North's comeback by scoring 20 of his 26 points in the second half. His three-point play cut it to 43-36 with 12:22 on the clock.

Joel Logan's 3-pointer from the right corner restored Snead State's margin to 48-36 with 11:12 to go, but it proved to be the Parsons' last double-digit lead.

Three-point plays by Davis and Xavier Blanchard cut the Parsons' advantage to 58-54 with 5:03 to play.

Christian Wilson-Poole's layup gave Snead State a 60-54 edge with 4:54 left, but Coastal-North responded by scoring the next 13 points to grab a 67-60 lead.

Down the stretch, Snead State went scoreless from 4:54 until 2.3 seconds, when Hunter Preston drained a 3 cutting it to 67-63. Johnson added two free throws with 1.4 seconds left.

"I feel like we had the better team but we didn't show it," Patterson said. "Give credit to them. They made the plays they needed to down the stretch. I felt like we kind of just let it get away, but while we're letting it get away they're making plays.

"I tried to come up with something, but that's the guys we've got and that's the guys that's got us here. We tried to play through the mistakes and stuff, but we couldn't get it together in the second half."

Preston paced Snead State with a double-double of 26 points and 11 rebounds.

King contributed 17 points and five boards, and Logan finished with 13 points and five rebounds.

Foul problems limited Wilson-Poole's playing time. He had four points and three assists before fouling out late in the second half.

Fabian Bell collected two points and three assists, and Jeric Packer had one point and five rebounds.

Snead State shot 55.8 percent from the field and outrebounded Coastal-North 31-20. Coastal-North, from Monroeville, hit 21-of-27 free throws to the Parsons' 9-of-15.

Lorenzo Anderson collected 20 points, four steals and three assists for Coastal-North.

"Those five sophomores are a part of 50 wins and 14 losses," Patterson said. "If you had said that eight years ago at Snead State, everybody would've laughed at you. They've done something special."

The Parsons' sophomores are Hunter Preston, Cam Preston, Logan, Wilson-Poole and Justin Murphy.

"Everybody on our roster is from Alabama," Patterson said. "They are kids who came straight out of high school that didn't transfer in. They came to Snead to try to make our program good, and they did.

"We've got respect across the state and across the Southeast now. Our guys are getting recruited really good.

"Last year's sophomore class was special, but these guys are just as special. There wasn't as many of them this year, and a lot of times I think that's the difference in who wins the championship when you get down here.

"Last year, I had some coaches who had been in the league say that every year the team that has the sophomores wins it, and we had seven of them last year. Those guys that were here this year did everything they could [to win it again]."


Story by Shannon J. Allen, Sports Editor at The Sand Mountain Reporter